All passengers in cars required to wear seat belts under new state law

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Buckle up!

Under a new law starting Sunday, all car passengers in New York state must wear seat belts — even adults in the back seat.

The law makes New York the 30th state to require seat belts for all car occupants. Unbuckled passengers in the front or rear seats can be fined $50.

“We’ve known for decades that seat belts save lives and with this measure we are … helping to prevent needless tragedies,” Gov. Cuomo said when he signed the measure into law in August.

Buses and emergency vehicles are exempt from New York’s new law — but not taxis.

A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration found just 68% of rear-seat passengers buckle up in states where they are not required to — compared to 81% in states that require belts for all passengers.

Failure to wear a seat belt is a common cause of death in state and city car crashes, data show.

The governor’s office says about 30 percent of highway deaths in New York are occupants unrestrained by a seat belt. The state lists 1,033 fatalities in motor vehicle crashes in 2018, its latest tally.

New York enacted the country’s first-ever seat belt law in 1984, but until now it was one of 20 or fewer states that did not require all passengers to strap in, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

New Hampshire is the only state without any seat belt requirement at all.

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